Texarkana dispatch personnel speak about job experiences during National Telecommunicators Week

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 5:20 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2023 at 11:08 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - The second week of April has been set aside to honor public safety telecommunicators nationwide for their commitment, service, and sacrifice.

It’s a demanding job but those in the field, like police and fire dispatchers, say it can be very satisfying.

“Just knowing police officers can go home to their family every night, it’s very rewarding,” Dispatcher Michael Ashford said.

Michael Ashford and Meagan Terry are veteran dispatchers with Central Records and Communications at the Bi State Justice Center in Texarkana. They describe their job as the “First-First Responders”. They say dispatchers are vital for public safety as indicated from a 911 call from a disabled elderly woman who had been raped. Working as a team these two provided police with information that quickly led to an arrest in the case.

“I think it was a perfect outcome, but it is part of the daily job we have here. We do this on a daily basis,” Terry said.

April 9 through April 15 is National Telecommunicators Week. The holiday is to honor public safety communicators for their commitment, service and sacrifice. Wendy Herring is manager for Bi-State communications. She says that this special week also brings attention to a problem facing the industry.

“We are having a difficult time getting applicants to apply for the position. It’s a very difficult job; it takes a lot out of you on a personal and emotional level because of the types of calls we have to deal with,” Herring explained.

National Telecommunicators week initially started in 1981.